This week, popular electronic dance music festival HARD Summer announced their official line-up for this year’s event on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3. Rather than draft a normal blog post about the impressive line-up, I decided to talk about it with entertainment writer Alek Sanchez, who has attended HARD events since going to HARD Day of the Dead 2012. (He also recently wrote a great article about San Diego’s growing EDM culture.)
Ryo: Alright, let’s get straight to it. Which artist convinced you most to go this year? Or top three, if you need to?
Alek: As a matter of fact, I grabbed my ticket in March when the first round of tickets went on sale. I bought it with faith that HARD would deliver on their lineup, and they definitely have. My short list for a top three would have to be Jack U, Dillon Francis, and Disclosure, with honorable mentions to DJ Snake and Clockwork. I get my money’s worth right there. The depth of the lineup goes to show how strong HARD Summer is this year. You could just go on and on breaking down each artist they’ve brought out.
Ryo: When I found out Rustie was going — he’s playing Day 1 — that enough justified my purchase for a moment. And The Juan MacLean and Tiga vs. Audion on Day 1 almost convinced me, too. But with $90 to drop for a single day, I figured it’d be better to hold off, especially when the headliners aren’t necessary the acts for me.
I was talking to a friend about how Disclosure got promoted to a headliner slot this year. They’ve come up in a really short time! How do you feel about their current place?
Alek: I think it’s great, and I’m really excited for them! They were about third row on the undercard last year, and they just came off a huge Coachella show, so it’s great to see Disclosure in the spotlight. HARD has always been about diverse and alternative acts, from moombahton to disco, and it’s great that everyone has been so welcoming to the UK garage sound that Disclosure bring, especially in a live band format.
Ryo: Of course, the headliners like Disclosure are a must-see, but are there any of the smaller names you would recommend?
Alek: The names I’d like to point out are Alesia and Wax Motif, who perform on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Alesia are a French duo that has this dark, underground and intense sound. For Wax Motif, it’s impossible to pinpoint his sound as he jumps around from groovy house beats to rage-inducing electro synths.
(Side note, HARD Summer has an interactive website, complete with biographies, links to Soundclouds, Instagrams, Twitters, and everything else to educate you on every artist!)
Any artists you’re excited for Ryo?
Ryo: Besides the ones I already named, I’d totally go see 2manydjs, who some may know better as the screeching electro act Soulwax. Dusky are really nice, too; last year, they put out some smooth traditional house singles on Aus, my favorite new dance label. My friends recently recommended me Wave Racer, who works with shiny neon bass tracks kinda like Rustie, so I’d also go check him out.
Is there anything first-timers should keep in mind for the event?
Alek: Well, since it’s at a new venue this year, I think we’re all going to be first timers. But for those attending a music festival for the first time, it’s important to remember some things. First and foremost, safety: Always stick around with those you trust, never forget to hydrate, and keep your belongings safe. But most importantly, don’t forget to bring good vibes and try to check out as many acts as you can. An open mind and open ears are the best ways to approach any festival.